A study published Thursday concluded that Black and Asian people in the U.S. and Britain are at higher risk of coronavirus infection than white individuals.
The study, which was published in one of the Lancet medical journals, reviewed records from more than 18.7 million patients across 50 studies to determine that Black people in both countries are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people.
Asian people were found to be 1.5 times more likely to catch the virus than white people, and early data indicated that they are also more likely to be admitted to intensive care units and die from COVID-19.
Manish Pareek, who led the research, told The Washington Post that the reasons for increased risk among Black and Asian people might trace back to the fact that they are more likely to work on the front lines and live in multi-generational households.
Pareek, who specializes in respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester in the U.K., said he recommends the elderly and health care staff from minority backgrounds should be prioritized when a vaccine becomes available.
The researchers also cited “racism and structural discrimination” as contributing factors, particularly as these populations deal with inequities in the health care sector.
Out of the 50 studies included in the analysis, 26 were peer-reviewed, 42 were from the U.S. and eight were from the U.K. The study’s authors noted they included studies that weren’t peer-reviewed to get “a broader view of the emerging literature, in a rapidly evolving field.”
Among the more than 18.7 million patients in the studies, more than 14.5 million were white, more than 1.2 million were Asian and more than 527,000 were Black.